Rebecca Mosher

Professor - School of Plant Sciences, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Genetics GIDP, Bio5 Institute
626-4185 / 626-7765 (Lab)

Educational Background

  • 1998 Bachelor of Science with Honors, cum laude, The University of Arizona. Double major in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Biochemistry.
  • 2005 Doctorate of Philosophy, University Program in Genetics and Genomics, Department of Biology, Duke University.
  • 2005 – 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich UK; and the Department of Plant Sciences, Cambridge University, UK.

Research Interests

  • Eukaryotes contain an array of small RNAs capable of transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation. These ubiquitous molecules are part of many biological processes, including development, response to the environment, and disease. Originally identified in plants, small RNAs are now studied in diverse organisms and are an important tool in human therapeutics.
  • Our laboratory studies the synthesis and action of small RNA molecules with particular emphasis on 1) epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation during seed development, and 2) evolution of the RNA-directed DNA methylation machinery. We combine traditional genetic and molecular studies with phylogenetic and structural analysis in diverse plant species.

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications, see
Burgess D, Chow HT, Grover JW, Freeling M, and Mosher RA. “Ovule siRNAs methylate protein-coding genes in trans” The Plant Cell, 34:3647-3664, 2022.
Chakraborty T, Payne H, and Mosher RA. “Expansion and Contraction of Small RNA and Methylation Machinery Throughout Plant Evolution” Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 69:102260, 2022.
Chakraborty T, Trujillo JT, Kendall T, and Mosher RA. “A null allele of the Pol IV Second Subunit is Viable in Oryza sativa” The Plant Journal, 111:748-755, 2022.
Mosher RA. “Small RNAs on the move in male meiocytes” Science, 373:26-27, 2021.
Chakraborty T, Kendall T, Grover JW, and Mosher RA. “Embryo CHH hypermethylation is mediated by RdDM and is autonomously directed in Brassica rapa” Genome Biology, 22:140, 2021.
Grover JW, Burgess D, Kendall T, Baten A, Pokhrel S, King GJ, Meyers BC, Freeling M, and Mosher RA. “Abundant expression of maternal siRNAs is a conserved feature of seed development”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 117(26): 15305-15315, 2020.
Chow HT, Chakraborty T, and Mosher RA. “RNA-directed DNA Methylation and sexual reproduction: expanding beyond the seed”. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 54: 11-17, 2020.
Trujillo JT, Seetharum AS, Hufford MB, Beilstein MA, and Mosher RA. “Evidence for a sixth DNA-dependent RNA polymerase in cereal crops”. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 35(10): 2454-2462, 2018.
Grover JW, Kendall T, Baten A, Burgess D, Freeling M, King GJ, and Mosher RA. “Maternal components of RNA-directed DNA methylation are required for seed development in Brassica rapa”. The Plant Journal, 94: 575-582, 2018.
Grover JW, Bomhoff M, Davey S, Gregory BD, Mosher RA, and Lyons E. “LoadExp+: a web-based suite that integrates next-generation sequencing data analysis workflows and visualization”. Plant Direct, 1(2), 2017.
Trujillo JT, Beilstein MA, and Mosher RA. “The Ago-binding platform of NRPE1 evolves through modulation of intrinsically disordered repeats” New Phytologist, 212:1094-1105, 2016.
Huang Y, Kendall T, Forsythe ES, Dorantes-Acosta A, Yu Y, Caballero-Perez J, Chen X, Arteaga-Vázquez M, Beilstein MA, and Mosher RA. “Ancient origin and recent innovations of RNA Polymerase IV and V”. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 32:1788-1799, 2015.
Matzke MA and Mosher RA. “RNA-directed DNA methylation: an epigenetic pathway of increasing complexity” Nature Reviews Genetics, 15:394-408, 2014.
Mosher RA. “Combatting the Impostor Syndrome in academic science – you probably are as smart as they think!” Plantae Blog, Aug 24, 2017.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • PLS449A/549A - Plant Genetics + Genomics

Research Areas

  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Genetics and Epigenetics
  • Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology